Sauteed crab over squash puree – a lovely medley of flavors that come together as an elegant and delicious appetizer.
This sauteed crab over squash puree is such a festive appetizer that’s also easy to make, and quick to impress. The inspiration for it came from a recent vacation in French Polynesia. The chef at the private island resort where we stayed, cooked the most delicious food I’ve ever tasted! This was served as an appetizer, at one of our dinners, and I loved the simple, yet sophisticated flavor combination of mild lobster with sweet, buttery squash.
Months later, I am still thinking about this dish, especially with pumpkin season in full force. I decided to recreate it at home (and conjure up memories of blue island lagoons in mid fall). I think the result was quite impressive, and it couldn’t have been easier.
November also marks the start of Dungeness crab season here in California. I thought it would be great to replace the lobster with fresh crab meat instead, now that it’s widely available. Unfortunately, just days before its opening, the crab season is delayed due to high levels of toxic acid found in crabs along the California coast.
To be on the safe side therefore, I am using a good quality canned lump crab meat for my recipe instead. It also saves a ton of work. If you can’t find canned lump crab meat, you can sub with shrimp.
I chose acorn squash for its mildly sweet flavor but butternut squash may also work if it’s not too sweet. I roast it with a teaspoon of coconut or brown sugar, cut side down, on a pan. Then I quickly make a puree of it by adding a bit of coconut milk, and a dash of salt and sugar if needed. You can roast the squash in advance and simply warm it up when you are ready to prepare the appetizer.
For the crab, I carefully separate the meat pieces, trying to preserve them whole as much as possible. Then I quickly saute them in butter with a bit of garlic, salt, and pepper. I don’t remember if the original recipe tasted of garlic, but the combination of crab, butter and garlic is divine, in my opinion. Optionally, you can brown some more butter to get a nice nutty flavor and pour over the squash.
That’s all there is to it. Simple and fast. Enjoy with a glass of chilled white wine!
- 1 cup roasted squash pick a variety that's not so sweet like acorn
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- salt pepper to taste
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 cup crab meet try to preserve it in big pieces
- 4 tbs of butter
Cut the squash in half (if using acorn) and remove seeds. Sprinkle a dash of sugar on the inside and roast at 400° F for 30 minutes or until it's soft
Mash the roasted squash with the coconut milk, and adjust the sweetness of necessary. Depending on the squash, you may need to add a bit more sugar so it tastes mildly sweet.
Melt 2 tbs of butter, and add the pressed garlic to the pan - cook for half a minute and add the crab pieces. Carefully saute them in the butter for a minute or two, trying to preserve them whole as much as possible
Melt the remaining butter in the pan, on low/medium heat and cook for a minute or two until it gets a golden brown color
Assemble the dish, by placing half a cup of the squash puree in a small bowl, topping it with half the crab meat, and pouring over the browned butter